Monday papers: or the new Fatwa
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
Numerous deadlines and upcoming trips have cut into much of the time I usually devote to blogging, but despite my absence the news continues to come in fast and furious. Over the weekend 'Abd al-Malik al-Huthi announced that he was ready to negotiate along the lines laid down by Hamid al-Ahmar. That is a bit of a blow to the government's peace plan, and it appears as though the international community is finally beginning to sit up and take notice of the conflict.
I have an op-ed about the fighting that I will post when it becomes available.
Also the regime is increasing the religious rhetoric surrounding the fighting. First, Salih equates abandoning unity with being an apostate from Islam. That should really open the lines of communication.
Then, three clerics no one has ever heard of, issue a fatwa declaring that fighting against the Huthis is fard 'ayn. Very helpful. Numerous searches of Yemeni databases of clerics and inquiries to well informed friends in the country have led to little and the consensus seems to be that if one is a minor cleric with little or no following and looking to make some money then right now is the perfect time to issue a fatwa against the Huthis. Bonus points and extra cash if you are also from the south.
There is much more to print, but this is all the news that fits into my schedule.